What Will ‘Our New Normal’ Look Like?

What does the future hold for the church as we contemplate moving out of pandemic lockdowns and shuttered church buildings?

What is God saying to us, and how are we called to act as participants in this ‘New Normal’?

God declares, “LOOK! I am making a new thing, now it springs up, do you not realize it?”

This past Saturday the Synodical of Central, Northeastern Ontario and Bermuda hosted a Bible Study led by Rev. Dr. Pat Dutcher-Walls, Professor of Hebrew Scripture at the Vancouver School of Theology. If you missed it, there is still an opportunity to hear and reflect on the prophetic word Pat offered to us all.

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It’s Time to Breathe

Happy Eastertide!

Have you been able to find a minute or two to be still, to close your eyes, and after pausing for a moment fill your lungs with the new life God is offering us in these days? I truly hope so. If you haven’t been able to do this yet, there is lots of opportunity ahead as we move through the upcoming celebrations of Ascension, Pentecost, and on to the longest season of all – Ordinary Time.

Laura Alary, author of numerous wonder-filled children’s books, invites us to experience these extraordinary days by breathing deeply and getting ready to grow again. Her new children’s book Breathe: A Child’s Guide to Ascension, Pentecost, and the Growing Time, illustrated by Cathrin Peterslund, is set to be released on April 13, 2021. While it’s not out yet, I’m happy to say I’ve had the opportunity to read and delight in an advance copy of her work and want to share with you what I discovered.

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Easter Greetings from the Synod of CNOB

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Great is Thy faithfulness; great is Thy faithfulness;
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me. 

                  Thomas Chisholm 1923, 1996 BoP 324

This is one of my very favourite hymns, one that I regularly find myself humming or singing under my breath. In many ways it sums up, not just my experience of God, but the fullness of that experience. The key line, “All I have needed thy hand hath provided,” reminds me of the nature of God’s providence. 

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What Will We Tell the Children?

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It was a Good Friday service I will never forget. 

I was perhaps eight or nine years old and since children in my church rarely joined the adults in the sanctuary for any part of worship, going to worship on Good Friday was a very big deal for me. I wanted to see everything that went on in this place so I shuffled my stacking chair out into the aisle as much as my Mom would allow and then I craned my neck the remaining few inches around the man in front of me to watch all that was going on. 

Our minister stood high up on the stage at the front of the auditorium describing in vivid detail the specifics of crucifixion to all of the worshippers in attendance. In his hand he held a rusty railroad spike, pumping it in the air to give emphasis to his words. As he finished declaring that we, like the scribes and the Pharisees, were responsible for Jesus’ death he cast the iron spike with great gusto down the cement centre aisle of our sacred space where it ultimately landed under my chair with a resounding clatter and then heavy silence. For a minute or so I sat frozen in my seat, and then with a cry I ran out of the sanctuary and into the hallway where I collapsed in tears. I felt responsible. If I had not been so bad, Jesus would never have had to die. It was all my fault and until that moment I hadn’t even known I had done such a horrid thing.

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On the Anniversary of the Pandemic

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“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1 NRSV)

On March 12 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared the Coronavirus to be a pandemic.

On March 16, 2020 the province of Ontario recommended the closure of all recreation programs, libraries, private schools, daycares, and churches and other faith settings.

This week we commemorate the one year anniversary of the Coronavirus pandemic, an event that has changed lives worldwide. It simply repeats the obvious to try and recount how different the world is today from a year ago and how uncertain the future remains, even with a vaccine. This truly is a once in a century event.

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